Concrete Countertop Solutions, the company that markets the Z Counterform forms as part of a patented system for cast-in-pace concrete countertops, held a photo contest earlier this fall to showcase the work of their professional and DIY customers. The company awarded cash and store credit to five winners and named five honorable mentions.
The complete batch of winning photos is online at the Z Counterform website. But here are a few choice selections, including the story submitted by the winner.
Let's start with the top winner — Tom Spurlock, a construction veteran from Orange County who did these counters as a DIY project.
First Place: Tom Spurlock, Orange County, Calif.
"Even though I was a newbie to Z forms, I'm a pretty capable DIY guy, and my dad was a mason. So yes, I had experience forming, mixing, pouring and finishing concrete for more than 30 years (thanks to Dad), but I hadn't poured a countertop yet. I'm a fan of the Z forms — it makes the forming process easy, and I like easy. I got pretty good at sanding down concrete with a 4-inch wet grinder I bought online, something you need with a job as big as mine. I like that tool but it can be a mess on a big job. had to create my own H2O deflector to keep my pants dry.
“Given the electronic gadget guy I am, I just had to bury some EDs in my counters. I couldn't find anything online showing anyone had done this before (maybe because it's a crazy idea), but I like blazing trails so I forged ahead. Although the embedded LED lights doubled the countertop fab time, the lights look very cool and unique, worth the extra effort. My BBQ island tops also include sprinkles of contrasting rock pebbles and shells on the surface, another first for me. After troweling the pebbles into surface and letting it dry a week, I ground down the tops with the wet grinder. Wow, it looked great at that point; I got a true appreciation of accomplishment. After a month of drying it was ready for stain and seal. Since these were my first countertops the biggest unknown, and crucial step, was the staining and sealing process, literally hundreds of choices. For all the countertops I poured I tried four different stain/seal processes, all with the same acid stain. I got three slightly different-looking finish results. The last technique looks the best, with the epoxy resin. However, they all look good."
Second Place: Seth Cluley, Tellus360, Lancaster, Pa.
“Z Counterforms are easy to use and create great results. I used them first in a straw-bale house where not one wall was flat. So pour-in-place was my only option. The Double Fancy I used on the island instantly created a classic look. A great solution!”
Third Place: Brian Mitchell, Mitchell Customs, Greenville, Miss.
Fourth Place - Kirk McDonough
Fifth Place - Mark Caswell
Among the five Honorable Mentions, Bill Hunt was singled out for “Surface Finish” …
… and Ian Galyan won an Honorable Mention for “Most Creative Use of Forms”.
Kathy Neutz, Bill Bruss and Ted Marek also won Honorable Mentions.